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A Marines Story of Resilience and Hope from Athena Ives

June 11, 2020

USMC Veteran and military rape survivor Athena Ives shares her story of resilience & hope and how she went from trauma to survival to victory in the latest episode of “The David Johnson Show.”

Athena recounts her story of being a child rape victim to serving in the U.S. Marines as a combat engineer and FST member with CLB-1, 1st MLG in Fallujah. In her 2018 book “Thank You for Raping Me” she speaks out against the physical and sexual assault she suffered in the military.

“I say I was forged in trauma,” Ives relates in the video. “Trauma definitely made me who I am today. But then you start to realize, "Get the hell over it. Stop. If you don't face this, you..." You have to admit what happened to you, so you have to be vulnerable. You have to talk about it. If you cover it up, it's just going to be like, "OK, you're not going to get over it," but you have to admit it. As soon as I admitted it and I realized, I was like, "I have been through a lot. And you know what? I will be damned if I'm going to go out of this world and not get what I deserve because I did not go through this hell to just end up here." I started fighting back and I was like, "Screw you. I am not giving up. I deserve so much better than this."

Ives is right about that. She has a master’s degree in forensics and is currently studying for a PhD in forensic psychology. Her book is touching raw nerves not only in the military world, but also across female groups, child trafficking groups and others. She describes herself as a Warrior today, and that inspiration will carry her through the coming years. Learn more about Athena at

“Dude, if I can get through the war and Fallujah as a female, I can do everything I did,” Ives relates. “I survived absolute hell there, and I did more than most of the guys in my unit did. I saw things that men would kill themselves over, and I'm OK with because I've been through worse.”


And check out our other full episodes of The David Johnson Show:

Episode 1: US Army Veteran Keith Caraway – The Cost of Being Hooah –

Episode 2: US Navy SEAL Veteran Craig “Sawman” Sawyer – The Chapters in Your Life –

Episode 3: Navy SEAL Retired Jon Fussell Talks Fear, Stepping It Up and Leadership

Episode 4: S.C.A.R.S. The Science Behind Combat and Eliminating Fear –

Episode 5: Veteran Employment: An Employers Perspective - Jay Sheehan

“The David Johnson Show” is a national voice that talks about points of interest in the American military and veteran subculture. Each show episode showcases a different guest with a different story. Sign up to get notified of new episodes at and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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